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--- On Thu, 9/24/09, David Peterson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> >> http://www.voices.com/articles/languages-accents-and-dialects/international-phonetic-alphabet.html
> > 

> 
> Holy smoke!  This site is even better!
> 
> http://www.shef.ac.uk/ipa/symbols.php
> 
I didn't check out the Voices.com site to see how things were pronounced, but was familiar with the 2nd ref.; there's also a Norwegian site, and the UCLA site. There is some variation in the vowels in all three of those (at least w.r.t. what I was taught years ago...).  Main problem is with [a], which I learned as a central vowel, but is now called a front vowel.

W.r.t. Gary's problems, American /r/ and /l/ (and /N/), as we've discussed many a time, affect the quality of preceding vowels.

It might be helpful to think of each IPA vowel as occupying a 3X3 grid, with the "correct" sound occupying the middle square. The vowel can then be described as raised/lowered/fronted/backed within that grid (using diacritics). Thus a "raised I" may be very close to a "lowered i"-- that idea I think is relevant to the /r/ problem, where the vowel e.g. of "pier" is difficult to pin down as to whether it's [i] or [I]. 

Many US speakers also have a lot of variation in the "calm, palm" series, the effect I guess of both the following [l] (pronounced or not) plus the [m] (labializing effect?). **YAEPT alert** I pronounce both of those with [A] (low back unrounded), but "paltry, pall" have [O] or [Q] (mid-low or low back rounded).

An OT but related question-- is there some magic (but simple!!) way to write IPA in Yahoo mail??? As mentioned before, I have to compose msgs. in OO or MSWord, then C&P to the email box. Tests have shown that that works...usually.